• Old Charlie Crist robo-calls causing election confusion


    ORLANDO, Fla. - Former Gov. Charlie Crist was in Orlando on Monday working the phones to drum up votes in the primary election Tuesday.

    Voters will decide whether Crist will be the Democratic nominee to Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November, but some recent robocalls featuring Crist's voice are causing confusion.

    The calls praise Crist as a champion of conservative values, even though he's now a Democrat.

    Channel 9's Vanessa Welch found the recordings aren't new. While the robo-call is a real audio recording of Crist, it's the same recording he made as a Republican running for governor in 2006.

    Now, State Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Election Commission.

    Vincent Maida is a registered Democrat who plans to vote for Crist in Tuesday's primary, but he, too, got the confusing phone call.

    "It sounded like Charlie Crist was going to be backing the Republicans," said Maida.

    A portion of the recording starts, "This is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I'm pro life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program."

    Maida knew those views didn't line up with his Democratic candidate.

    "I am not an idiot but it did take me a couple of days because it was so confusing," said Maida.

    The call ended with, "I would appreciate your vote on Election Day. Paid for by the Conservative."

    The Conservative is a political action committee.

    9 Investigates learned Sen. Tom Lee, of Brandon, raises money for the group.

    The Florida Democrat Party filed a complaint with the Election Commission citing state law that requires people to give permission to use their voice in phone calls.

    The complaint said the call "clearly and misleadingly represents Gov. Charlie Crist as a spokesperson for the Conservatives."

    WFTV political analyst Rick Foglesong said the call muddies the waters.

    "The call's aim is to sew confusion about whether Charlie Crist is a true Democrat and deter voters from voting for him in November," said Foglesong.

    That's what concerns Maida, who said he believes the call may keep Democrats from going to the polls.

    "Dirty. Absolutely dirty," said Maida.

    Lee, who raised money for the calls, told Welch the complaint is frivolous.  He also said two million Democrats got the robo-calls.

    Foglesong said any fine by the Election Commission would be small and the damage is likely already done.

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